Village Leader

Louis Grossman: Developed Method to Structure Bratenahl

10519 Lake Shore Boulevard

Judge Louis Joel Grossman, a prominent member of the German community in Cleveland and John D. Rockefeller’s attorney, offered a method of structuring Bratenahl to prevent the intrusion of unwanted types of land use by having deeds to every piece of property in Glenville on the Lake be revised to restrict land use to single-family homes for a period of fifty years. His solution required an astonishing leap of faith from the property owners. One-hundred-fifty owners conveyed the deeds to their homes to a trust and received in return deeds with provisions limiting the use of the property for residence use only for a term of fifty years.

Louis Grossman was born on Bolivar Road in Cleveland on January 16, 1867, the son of Marcus and Hannah Grossman. He attended Cleveland Public Schools and graduated from Columbia University with an A.B. degree in 1885 and later received his law degree from the same university.

He married Lillian (Lillie) Meyers on October 15, 1890. Lillie was born on August 19, 1871. They had three children: Marc Justin, Vera (Berger), and Gladys (Littman). Both Vera and Gladys attended Bratenahl schools.

Grossman practiced law for fifty-three years as a senior partner with the firm of Grossman and Grossman specializing in commercial, probate and corporation law. His reputation for uprightness was unquestioned and he was sought after as a member of philanthropic boards and community organizations.

Along with judge J. J. Sullivan, chairman of the Central National Bank, Grossman was a principal advisor to John D. Rockefeller for his Standard Oil Trust. After Rockefeller had moved to New York, he still returned to Forest Hills each summer. Grossman and Sullivan would meet Rockefeller at the train station and accompanied him to his home.

Grossman was a director of Guardian Trust Co., president of American Lawyers Co. and a member of the Cleveland and American bar association. He was active in the Chamber of Commerce.  Social clubs included City Club, The Country, Excelsior, Oakwood Country and Town clubs.

Louis died at his home on August 20, 1941. Lillie on died September 9, 1967, at age 94. Both are buried in Mayfield Cemetery.